Lucy Ethedred Broadwood
Lucy Etheldred Broadwood
Reproduced by permission of
Surrey History Centre

History

The Broadwood Morris Men take their name from The Broadwood Family and in particular Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1858-1929), a founder member of the Folk Song Society.

The Broadwood family were famous piano makers – Beethoven and Chopin both played on Broadwoods. The family was musical in other ways – in the 19th Century the Rev John Broadwood published the first ever collection of folk songs entitled “Songs of the Peasantry of the Surrey & Sussex Weald”. His niece Lucy Etheldred Broadwood (1858-1929) was also musically gifted and collected folk songs. For part of her life she lived in the family home of Lyne House, two miles north of the village of Rusper in north Sussex and employed her talents in the Surrey/Sussex region. Lucy was a prominent member of the English Folk Song Society, sometimes its Secretary and sometimes Editor of the society’s Journal. Her friend, neighbour and contemporary folklorist Ralph Vaughan Williams commented that “she was England’s greatest folk music scholar”.

The late Harry Mousdell, who was thinking of establishing a morris side in Horsham, discovered a letter dated 20th December 1925 from Lucy to a Mr McDermott, in which she writes about Henry Burstow, the Horsham folk singer, bellringer and cobbler. The letter also mentions seeing a man dancing at Lyne House on May Day in the early 1870’s. She writes “Later, I realised I had seen my one and only Sussex Morris – caperer”. (Personally, I think this was Harry!)

When the new side were formed they needed a name and the local name of Broadwood, with its folk connections, was an obvious choice.

Martyn Wyndham Read (the internationally well known folk singer) at that time lived on the Broadwood estate. He arranged for Harry and another original member Ian Hill to visit Captain Evelyn Henry Tschudi Broadwood, the last surviving member of the family in this country, in early 1972 - to seek his consent to using the name and family crest. Capt. Broadwood readily agreed because he believed that his Aunt Lucy had not received all due credit and recognition for her contribution to English Folk Music. Thus the Broadwood Morris Men proudly bear the name and badge of a very important contributor to the continuance of folk traditions in this country.

On May Day that year the men were invited to Lyne House to take tea and cucumber sandwiches with Capt. Broadwood on the lawn in front of the house, and they danced especially for him. Sadly he died soon after but it's our tradition to go back to the house every May Day and dance for the present inhabitants (it is now split into flats) and they kindly provide refreshments for us, including cucumber sandwiches.

Lucy and other members of the family are buried in the churchyard of Rusper Church (at the back, around the corner to the left), and there at least two plaques commemorating the family in the church. On the left as you go in, on the back wall, is a plaque to Lucy showing her as a fairly young woman. It is the tradition of the Broadwood Men on every Mayday morning for the current Squire to hang a wreath over the plaque and say a few words in her memory.